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Independence Day: Five Star Collection

Basically a remake of George Pal's adaptation of The War of the Worlds, with a computer virus replacing the lowly organic virus that does in the aliens in the '50s movie, Independence Day is is a politically confused and confusing film whose undercurrents rhyme perfectly with the multi-faced, one-size-fits-all accommodations of our political age. The destruction-of-cities visuals are good, and the imagination of unexpected mass death in this vale of tears is created with relish. While ID4 embraces a cozy liberal globalism (Arab and Israeli pilots uniting in the desert to face a greater foe), in the end the film celebrates a New World Order with the U.S. president in charge. And it is also curious that while all the citizens of the world are asked to put aside their differences for the greater good, the major characters have "differences" that make them not much more than vulgar stereotypes. But if the film itself merits only two and a half stars, the supplements deserve four. Fox went all out on this one, and if after viewing and listening to it all there is a feeling of letdown, that is based solely on the reaction to that which inspired all this attention (and go here to learn about all the Easter eggs). The anamorphic widescreen transfer on Independence Day: Five Star Collection is mostly very good, with some very occasional rough edges in some SFX shots, and the English Dolby Digital 5.1 is great, with lots of good, logical separation, and maybe only an occasional weakness in the volume of the dialogue. Two-disc set with director's cut featuring nine extra minutes, 57 chapters (eight extended, three added scenes), and the original release version, with 54 chapters. Anamorphic widescreen transfer (2.35:1), single-sided, dual-layered discs (SS-DL) in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Dolby 2.0 Surround, French Dolby 2.0 Surround, English and Spanish subtitles, a Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin audio commentary track, and a special effects team audio commentary track. Three documentaries, trailers, TV spots, internet spots, original biplane ending sequence, storyboards, original art, production stills. Disc Two features the Easter eggs "Sonic Separator" with sound-layer options for selected scenes, random newscasts, "Combat Review" segments with disaster high points, and DVD credit documentation. Disc Two Easter eggs within easter eggs include all 12 "Combat Review" segments in order, and all 22 newscasts in order. Dual-compartment keep-case with 11-page booklet.
—D.K. Holm

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